End of year preview

End of year preview

Hello friends!

I’ve been MIA on the blog for almost the whole year after I said I’d try posting updates more. I’m pretty bad at this social media and sharing thing 😅In any case, I have a few thoughts I want to share as we near the end of the year.

Something I’m proud of

A studio technician recently told me that each piece of mine that she holds feels lighter than she expects and I was internally exploding with happiness 💪because that is something I have been working on this whole time since I got back from Japan. To be honest, I’m really sensitive about the feel of a piece and part of that might be because I’ve seen people walk by, pick up my pieces, and then leave with this look of disappointment. I took a slipcasting class and the slipcast pieces are really light. It’s likely possible to throw something as thin as a slipcast piece (I imagine you’d have to be very good at pottery), and I think I am pretty far from that personally, but it’s something I want to work towards.


Sheila and I have been talking a lot about next year’s collaborations and our next big drop will be plates! We did some tests which I’ll share here; it’s obvious we have a lot to improve on, but it’s promising. The biggest takeaway is that we need to use more layers of underglaze! With three layers of clear glaze, it’s really easy for the underglaze application to look washed out, especially if the underglaze is thin.

Sierra being a bit washed out

Our sample plates came out looking washed out.

After we agree on a style/design for the collaboration, the process is as follows:

  1. I throw and trim each piece individually on the wheel.
  2. Each piece then goes through a bisque firing.
  3. You send me your lovely pet photos and your notes and I assemble the details for Sheila.
  4. Sheila and I figure out how we can transport the bisque pieces. In the past we’ve asked friends and family; I’ve even made a one-day trip down to San Diego just to transfer pieces to her.
  5. Sheila paints the pet portraits on the pieces with Amaco velvet underglaze.
  6. We figure out how to transport the pieces back to me.
  7. I glaze each piece with a zinc-free clear glaze and put them through the glaze firing. For future collaborations, I found a clear glaze that should work fine with Sheila’s paintings. Previous collaborations have had pieces where the portraits were not glazed because I was worried about the details being lost with the glaze. Clear glaze is funny in that different clear glazes can have wildly different effects on underglaze/clay depending on the ingredients.
  8. Once they’re done, I ship them to you!

Close-up of my dog BMO

My corgi BMO looking like Beast from Beauty and the Beast

I also have some potential collaborations coming up which I will share more about once I’m confident that they’ll actually turn into something real 😅

Upcoming in-person markets

For those of you in the Bay Area, I will be selling my ceramics at SJMade’s Winter Wonder Market Dec. 16-17! It’ll be at Westgate Center in San Jose. This is the first big market ever for me, so I’m both excited and scared. Like, what if no one buys my pieces? I don’t even know what people want to purchase, so I’m kind of making a little of everything to see what sticks. I do not claim to be a business person; I just like making and I hope I make something that someone else loves! Please come by and say hi; I’d love to meet more of you 🙂

I also will be a vendor at SJMade’s Friend Fest 2024, and I’ll share more details when we get closer to those dates!

I have had to say no to some pop-up requests; it honestly takes a lot of energy for me to sell in person (I’m a major introvert) and I can only do a few in-person events a year. I feel that 1-2 a year is more than enough for me, but we’ll see if I build some more resilience/strength to do more of these!

Wholesale and custom orders

Some folks have reached out to me about wholesale and custom orders. I’m still really new to the wholesale side of things but I am really flattered by the requests. I hope to open up some wholesale spots in the next year; if you are interested, please email me! Please do remember that I am the only person working this small business and it’s really more of a small business-hobby (I still have a full-time job outside of ceramics), so my availability is very limited.

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with custom orders, but I think over time I’m getting better at handling them because I am asking more of the right questions and setting expectations reasonably well (or at least I hope I am). I am much more comfortable saying no and I also don’t mess up as much anymore which was definitely causing me a lot of stress 😆

Last but not least…

I joined a new studio that’s walking distance from me. As in, less than a five minute walk from my house. This changes my life so much! For now I am spending time both at my old studio and the new one because my old studio is close to my work so I drop by after work. However, sometime next year I’ll switch to just the new studio. It’s like having a home studio…but without the maintenance of one. I will need to figure out how to optimize my storage in my own house so I can store greenware and more bisque and make space for me to work on my pieces at home, but this is great.

I hope you all enjoyed reading my updates; let me know what you’d love to hear about next! And if you’ve bought pieces from me, I’d love it if you shared pictures of them with me on social media. It really warms my heart to see my work in new homes ❤️

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